Bluemix to Blueshop: girls that code

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At the Watson Developer Conference we were introduced to Michelle Liang, Karen Supandi, and Madison Gong, alumni from the Girls That Code course. They introduced us to the programme, and the incredible site they created in just two weeks, after five weeks of training on the IBM Silicon Valley Girls Who Code programme.

The GWC programme is dedicated to closing the gender gap in coding, and is aimed at young women with little to no experience of coding. Michelle, Karen and Madison all met on the Summer Immersion Programme, and spent seven weeks together learning Scratch, Python, C++, HTML, and Java.

They had the opportunity to meet guest speakers including IBMers and developers from Paypal and Amazon. They had field trops to cyber security events, and visted IBM research labs to meet fellows, in their words – super cool!

“We all came in with no knowledge, I wanted to be a part of a programme that inspires women and teaches them how to code. It taught me how wide and diverse the developer community is. And everyone was so supportive and helpful, I didn’t feel intimidated at all.”

After five weeks of learning, every participant has two weeks to deliver a project that encompasses everything they’ve learnt.

Blueshop: A centralised platform for all your promotional needs

Michelle, Karen, and Madison decided to tackle the problem of cluttered inboxes from endless shop and store promotions, never being able to find the relevant ones when they needed them. Their solution was to create a website to help view promotions from your favourite stores, delivered to the site from Facebook and Twitter store feeds.

“Blueshop is a centralised platform to show you offers and promotions from your favourite stores, helping you know what’s on offer without dealing with your cluttered inbox.”

How can we make the Blueshop site more interesting? Watson services!

“It was ambitious to create a project based on our three hours of Bluemix experience. It was quite difficult, but even without a background in coding the summer programme meant we were less intimidated.”

The girls did lots of research, and decided to use Alchemy api insights for twitter.

They decided on the logistics: who was the target audience? And they decided to appeal to  teens and adults of both genders – the people that shop online the most.

They have monetised their site by adding premium accounts, exclusive deal access, and partner advertising.

The site was built using SDK for node js, and HTML CSS for the front end, as that is what they learnt from the Girls Who Code programme. They have made it easy to navigate, visually appealing – a clean minimalist site.

They worked with google reviews so they could show the favourite sites of their users. And used the sentiment of the reviews, to determine a positive or negative experience. They have visualised this so you can see at a glance what people are saying and feeling about the stores.

The future of Blueshop

We’d love to develop into a fully functioning hotspot so people can use the site on the move, and we’d like to make it more variable so you can select specific stores. We’d also like to remove the repetition coming in from Facebook and Twitter due to duplicate store postings.

We’d also like to add personality insights, and visual recognition to cluster information based on visual data. And have users save data to their accounts for later.

If you’d like to learn more about IBM Girls Who Code please take a look at our GWC site.


Madison Gong

Michelle Liang

Karen Supandi


Girls Who Code

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